2 Replies Latest reply: Oct 26, 2012 2:11 PM by DAB RSS

Building Codes: Simple Energy Savings

GregC

Extracted from the publication of John Farrell on cleantechnica.com website April 9th 2012

In energy policy, lawmakers often prefer carrots to sticks because it minimizes the opposition. But mandatory rules, like building energy codes, can save energy and pay back several times over during the useful life of buildings.


The state of Illinois is poised to become a regional leader by adopting the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), an example of small-seeming rules with big impact. For example, 40% of primary energy consumption in the U.S. is in buildings, along with about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, adopting the 2012 IECC (as Illinois is doing), with energy efficiency standards 28% stronger than the 2006 code, can make a big dent in carbon emissions.

 

The financial savings can add up, as well. The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated in 2005 that homeowners in the Midwest spent an average of $1,800 per year on household energy use. Assuming states had already adopted the 2006 IECC for the previous expenditure figure, the implementation of the 2012 code could save families $500 per year.

 

Builders often fight codes, and the ones in Illinois are no different, claiming the cost of the improvements will add $5,000 to the cost of a new home. But in fact, the increased cost of a home built to the 2012 code in Illinois will increase the home’s cost by $1500 (~$6 a month) but save $33 per month in energy costs.

 

In other words, improved energy efficiency in building codes saves homeowners from day 1.

 

The U.S. Department of Energy supplies maps depicting the current status of state building codes — its residential map is shown below (hold ‘ctrl’ or ‘command’ and click the ‘+’ button to make larger).

 

 

 

 

Already, 30 states have adopted the 2009 IECC or better, and interestingly, the pattern does not follow traditional red-blue state political divisions.

 

Of course, a code is only as good as compliance — enforced by municipal government — and the Alliance to Save Energy suggests that it can be spotty. Anyone know of good studies of code compliance?

Read the complete entry from  John Farrell on cleantechnica.com website

  • 1. Re: Building Codes: Simple Energy Savings
    AlvinChacko

    These building codes are indeed effective and the way of the future.  Green/alternative energy standards exist and are constantly arising everywhere not just for buildings codes but as engineering standards too.  UL and CSA have develoepd green standards for products.  They will cut costs for businesses, and for society as a whole.  Additionally this pushes for a "green" soceity which should be what the world will be enitrely by 2050.  The government may not be enforcing them now, but as time goes on they will most certainly become hard pressed standards. 

  • 2. Re: Building Codes: Simple Energy Savings
    DAB

    One of the big problems with home ownership is that everyone focusses on the inital purchase price.

     

    Unfortunately, you still need to budget about $500/month for upkeep.  Energy costs do matter if you plan to stay in the house a while.

    I wish more people would take the time to look at the real issues involved with a home or buildings in general.  We could do much more in the way of reducing the recurring costs in addition to the purchase price.

     

    The biggest problem is still educating the buyers to understand the real issues.

     

    Just a thought,

    DAB